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Nasal Foreign Body in Children


  • A nasal foreign body is a condition where something gets stuck in your child's nose. This may include food, small toys, beads, disk batteries, insects, worms, or pieces of broken bones and cartilage. Nasal foreign bodies may get trapped in any part of the nasal cavity. The nasal cavity runs from the nostrils (openings of the nose) down to the back of the throat. Sinuses are hollow pockets in the face bones. Tiny bones that stick out into the nasal cavity and form folds are called turbinates.Your child may have trouble breathing if the object is very deep in the nasal cavity. Nasal foreign bodies may also cause itching, pain, headache, and frequent sneezing. Blood or a thick, yellowish fluid may drain from the affected nostril. If the foreign body is alive, such as with insects or worms, your child may feel movement in his nose.
    Picture of a normal nose
  • Diagnosis of a nasal foreign body may include a detailed health history and careful checking of your child's nose. Removal of the foreign body may be done using different procedures. Insects and live worms may or may not be killed first before being taken out. Surgery may be needed to remove a deep foreign body. Repair of other injuries caused by the foreign body may also be done. With treatment, the foreign body may be removed from the nose, and more serious problems prevented.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.


Removal of a nasal foreign body may cause unpleasant effects. The nasal cavity may be scraped and scratched or the skin may be injured. Your child may have an allergy to anesthesia or other medicines. The foreign body may be pushed down and block your child's airway. If left untreated, a nasal foreign body may make your child's symptoms worse. If the foreign body is not removed, it may cause an infection, irritation, or further damage to the nose. Trying to remove the foreign body yourself may push the object deeper and lead to more serious problems. Ask your child's caregiver if you have questions or concerns about your child's condition and its treatment.


Informed consent:

A consent form is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.


Your child's caregiver may give any of the following:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Pain medicine: Your child may need medicine to take away or decrease pain. Know how often your child should get the medicine and how much. Watch for signs of pain in your child. Tell caregivers if his pain continues or gets worse. To prevent falls, stay with your child to help him get out of bed.
  • Sedative: This medicine may be given to help your child to be calm and relaxed.


  • X-ray: X-ray pictures of your child's nose may need to taken to look for the foreign body and other problems in your child's nose.

Treatment options:

  • Removal procedures: If the object can be seen, different procedures may be done to remove it. To do this, your child may need to be restrained by wrapping him in a sheet. Removing nasal foreign bodies may be done using any of the following:
    • Instruments: Grasping instruments, such as forceps or clamps, may be used to hold the object and pull it out. A curved hook may also be used to scoop or hook the object out of the nose. These instruments are usually used when the foreign body is stuck near the opening of the nose.
    • Foley catheter: Caregivers insert a catheter (rubber tube) into your child's nose until it goes past the object. The balloon at the end of the catheter is then filled, and gently pulled out. This may be done if the foreign body is smooth or round and does not totally block the nose.
    • Glue: Your child's caregiver may use a stick with glue on the end to take out the foreign body. This is done by touching the foreign body with the stick and pulling it out when the glue dries. Acetone (removal substance) may be used in case the glue accidentally touches the skin.
    • Pressure: Pressure applied through the mouth or by a bag device may force the stuck object out of the nose. A quick blow of air, through your child's unaffected nostril or mouth, may blow the foreign body out.
    • Suction: A machine that sucks out the object from the nose may be used to remove small objects. This procedure uses a metal catheter with a small plastic umbrella at the tip. It may be used if round, smooth objects are stuck in the front part of the nose.
    • Other treatments: A weak chemical solution may be used if the foreign body is alive. The solution is put in the nose to kill the insect and some worms before removing them. They may be taken out by blowing the nose, using an instrument, or through suctioning. With some kinds of worms, this procedure may take weeks before they can be completely removed. A roundworm may be taken out right away using an instrument without the need to kill it first.
  • Repair: Your child may have a cut in his nose because of the foreign body. A large cut may need to be closed with sutures (threads) or skin glue. This may depend on how bad the cut is. Ask your caregiver for information about treating large cuts caused by a nasal foreign body.
  • Surgery: Your child may need to have surgery if the foreign body is very deep. Surgery may also be done to treat nose damage caused by the foreign body. In these cases, foreign body removal may be done under general anesthesia. General anesthesia is medicine that will put your child to sleep and keep him free from pain during surgery. Ask your caregiver for information about removal of a nasal foreign body using surgery.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Nasal Foreign Body in Children (Inpatient Care)

Associated drugs

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